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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

Since 1987, the Legend of Zelda has been a franchise that has endured the test of time. It introduced many things that would be mainstay for the series and would serve as inspiration for other games to follow. Now on it’s 30th anniversary, Nintendo decides to pull out all the stops to deliver a game unlike any other… that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Funny since it is not only the last game released for the Nintendo Wii U but also one of the first on the Nintendo Switch. Despite this, the game is everything that Zelda has to offer and then some.

The game’s story takes place 100 years after a calamity destroyed the kingdom of Hyrule. Link wakes from a long slumber, guided by a voice telling him that he must go out and save it once more. However he suffers from amnesia. Despite this, Link heads out into Hyrule, hoping to save it from a threat named Calamity Ganon but also learn the truth about what happened. It’s a story that has me intrigued and at the same time fills me with a lot of questions. Sometimes stories in Zelda take a back seat in favor of gameplay but not in this case. Here, Breath of the Wild provides a story that pays tribute to the franchise while offering something very intriguing. I loved it and by the time I finished the game, it left me with a satisfying feeling and a sense of hope.

Breath of the Wild is a departure from many other Zelda games. Although it does kind of borrow elements from games like Elder Scrolls, you can’t deny that Nintendo actually took a chance to change something that has worked and make it better. For starters, the world of Hyrule actually feels like an open world, not to mention a lot bigger. Though you are quite limited at it in the beginning, once you get the Paraglider then the real fun begins. You aren’t limited to just following objectives. It’s up to you to decide what to do from here. This is the freedom this game gives you and I like it. Not that it’s a bad thing. The game introduces a nifty item, the Sheikah Slate. It is a tablet that allows Link to do a variety of functions like forming bombs, ice platforms or even trap things. It can also get upgrades that add more to the device. Pretty nifty. It also replaces items that we’ve used many times in the Zelda series.

As you progress, you have the option to collect gear such as weapons, shields, bows, outfits, etc. You need them to survive the harsh environment. Unlike previous Zelda games, you don’t use hearts to restore health. You use food. They can be collected, eaten up or cooked to create dishes that provide various effects. Speaking of effects, they can range from resistance to various elements to providing temporary health. The possibilities are endless and they even work on elixirs too. With all this, the game offers a lot to do and how you do it depends on you, again the freedom. You can move about either on foot, horseback, swim if you’re in water or you can glide. If there’s a wall or mountain, you can climb. Know that doing any of it drains your stamina. If it runs out while doing any of it, you have to wait until it’s filled up.

Every Zelda game always has dungeons that put your skills to the test. Breath of the Wild has plenty of them in the form of shrines. Shrines are mini-dungeons and there are 120 of them. Some require simple puzzle solving. Others involve a test of combat. Tackling them is simple but finding them is the challenging part. Completing them nets you Shrine Orbs, which you can exchange for more health or stamina. As for the actual dungeons, they take the form of the four Divine Beasts. They require a bit of puzzle solving, culminating with a boss battle at the end. The bosses are a challenge and depending on your equipment can determine the outcome.

Breath of the Wild has additional new features. Link can now jump with a button press. It can be useful for exploration or in battle with the Flurry Rush. If you time your evasion well enough, you go into a matrix-style slowdown and then follow it up with a series of strikes that can damage your enemies. It’s nifty and for anyone that masters this can be unstoppable. Another thing they included and one I feel isn’t the most useful of additions is durability. No weapon lasts forever and they’ll break. When that happens, expect to switch to a new one fast. You can always throw the damaged weapon to an enemy for double damage so there’s a workaround. It’s not limited to weapons like swords, axes or bows. Your shield can also break if it absorbs too much damage. Gear can get upgraded too with the help of the Great Fairies. You need to trade items in order to do so.

Breath of the Wild’s length depends on the player and how he goes about it. Since it does depend on the player, there is an insane amount of replay value. On average, the game can be beaten in roughly 16 hours but to complete everything, it goes beyond into the hundreds. Even now players always find ways to go around and that’s really cool. If you wonder about Amiibo support, there’s plenty. Scanning Amiibos like the Legend of Zelda line can net you stuff and they depend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get rare garb that you can use to dress up.

Presentation-wise, the game is fantastic and colorful. It is a marvel whether playing it on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch. It is marvelous. The music is amazing. I recommend giving a listen to some tracks so you can see how great they are. Character models are pretty good, with Link being my favorite since he can express himself in many ways. Also, a first for the Zelda series, the game has full voice acting. I was surprised they included this. Link is still mute but as for some of the other characters, they are pretty good. It’s a nice addition and one we waited for quite some time. The game is also on the Wii U but it has some problems on the frame rate department. They are minor at best but if you’re on the Switch, it’s consistent and flawless. Overall, both Wii U and Switch are similar if anything.

In conclusion, Breath of the Wild is a game that offers many firsts to the series. It does borrow stuff from other games but it brings it’s own flavor into the mix. Fitting that this serves as a farewell to the Wii U and a welcome to Nintendo’s new Switch console. Despite some shortcomings, you can’t deny that this game is truly one to behold. Great combat, amazing presentation, addicting gameplay and high replay value all add up to a game that just screams perfect, despite some faults. Nintendo nailed it and it’s going to be a game people will be talking about for a very long time.

I give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth your money whether on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch.

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Paper Mario Color Splash Review

Paper Mario: Color Splash Review – Written by Jose Vega

Special thanks to Nintendo for providing me a copy of this game.

Paper Mario is a franchise that had some ups and downs. It started as an RPG series that were hits on the N64 and GameCube before going into a different direction on the Wii with Super Paper Mario and then abandoning what made it good in favor of something that turned everyone off with Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS. Now we have a new Paper Mario game and unfortunately, it has been under controversy due to it following the formula of the previous game. So much so that videos relating to it would be the most disliked on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. However the game had been released by accident two weeks early and people got to experience it. I got my chance to play the latest entry in the series. The question’s this: Will Color Splash be a repeat of Sticker Star or is this a game that’s worth the moniker of “Paper Mario”.

Let’s start with the plot because that’s the one thing you should probably wonder about this game. It centers on Mario, who along with Peach and a Toad head to Prisma Island after they receive mail that came in the form of a color-deprived Toad. What they find is a place that has been devoid of color and with it life on the island. Upon encountering a strange bucket named Huey, they soon learn that someone has been draining color from the island and using it as a means of destruction. So Mario now must travel all over Prisma Island and seek out the Paint Stars in order to bring life back to this once vibrant island.

I am going to give Nintendo credit. This is a story that I can get behind. Sticker Star’s story was just nonexistent whereas here, it always has incentive. It made you want to see what became of the island, its inhabitants and what can you do to help out. The story can be quirky with the dialogue and I love that. It makes the game good and it’s a step in the right direction. I don’t know if it can be the same for the rest of the game itself. Let’s find out.

One of the biggest controversies this game has had was its gameplay. Yes, the gameplay is similar to that of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. A lot of people hated it due to its simplicity and the fact you needed to use stuff like stickers to attack during battle. With Paper Mario: Color Splash, that’s out the window. The theme is of course, paint and your job in this game is to travel from one area to the next battling enemies, acquiring items and restoring life to said areas by means of using paint. Depending on where you are, you have various options. For example, outside of battle you can jump and use your hammer to hit anything, even enemies. But if you hit something with the X button, you let out paint. Remember: the gimmick here is all about paint and you have to use said paint to restore Prisma Island and it’s many areas. But there’ll be times where you think there’s no way out but in fact, there is. Color Splash has the addition of “Cutout”. Cutout lets you take advantage of your environment and literally lets you cut out a bit of the area to reveal something new. This can lead to some unique results and sometimes hidden goodies. It adds more on the exploration side and gives you an incentive to find every hidden spot and obtain its secrets.

In battle, everything is like Sticker Star but with some differences. Instead of stickers, you have cards. I do like the mechanics in this game better because you use cards to deal damage to enemies. Depending on the card, you can either deal damage with your trusty hammer or stomp them flat with some jump attacks. There are many variations and they can help turn the tide of battle if you’re lucky. Also, battles emphasize on how you do it successfully without suffering damage. Doing these net you bonuses like more coins and you’re going to need a lot of coins to get more cards so that you can dish the pain to your opposition. Sometimes you’ll get cards that are devoid of color. You use paint to give it life and in turn use it to attack enemies. Expect to do it a lot since most times you’ll get stuff that have no color. The same can be said for Things. Yes, that’s what they are. Things return in this game and like the previous game, they have a lot of use. Not only that but they have all new ones that can have various results. I like some of the things they included but if you look and at times listen hard enough, there may be some Easter eggs if you can spot them.

Speaking of battles, there are boss fights. They’re a plenty as you travel and they’ll need you to plan accordingly and with what you have at your disposal. The game does provide you some hints on what you’ll need to tackle a specific foe. I like it as for new players, it’s a great opportunity. Don’t let your opposition fool you. If you are not prepared, expect to get beat. That’s a fact. Preparedness is key.

Even with exploration, battles, there is a lot to do here. There are mini games too in the form of Roshambo. Roshambo is rock paper scissors and your job pretty much is to win. There are Roshambo temples spotted all over the map and your job is to take on each temple and win. Be warned that you’ll be up against foes that will beat you. It comes down not only to a matter of patience but skill. Only the most skilled of players can be able to pull it off and the rewards are high, along with the incentive. Roshambo Temples are also a good opportunity for you to get coins with the max being at 9999. Just like Sticker Star. There’s replay value here in the game and if you want to get 100% and complete everything, you’ll have to spend a lot of time on it… roughly 20 hours or so. At least in this game it’s worth it because the game’s charm helps add to it.

Presentation wise, the game is a step up from Sticker Star. Many of the areas you’ll travel are vibrant, full of colors with various different themes. They range from volcanoes where heat is high with bits of red and orange to the beach side and the area fills with lots of blue. It gives the game and its areas a bit of atmosphere. I love it personally and it has you enjoying everything it has to offer. Humor is aplenty in every area. Some bits will make you laugh out loud and other instances they throw stuff that have them break the fourth wall. It’s impressive. I could go on and on but in my honest opinion, it’s a game that’s best enjoyed if you play it yourself. Though if I had any flaws with the game, it’s that the game is using a system that really didn’t work aka Sticker Star style. Had it be using the RPG elements from the old games, it would be a surefire hit.

Paper Mario: Color Splash may follow a formula that didn’t work the first time but it makes up for it in various ways. An improved battle system, great story, interesting characters, strong humor and replay value helped give the game a boost it definitely needs. But I can’t help but feel that the Paper Mario franchise should revert back to its roots. I will commend Nintendo for at least trying something different. They did try but unfortunately, you know what they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Color Splash is an exception because what it offers more than makes up for its shortcomings. This game is a must buy on the Wii U and considering that this console is on its last legs, I recommend it. No doubt about it. This game is worth the full purchase price.

I give Paper Mario: Color Splash a 9 out of 10. This game is a MUST BUY and it deserves my Seal of Approval.